April 29, 2011

Buffett, Gates’ Giving Pledge Gains 10 More Families

Number of signatories now totals 69

Ten more of America's wealthiest families took the Giving Pledge, begun by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates last June. The latest signatories, announced Thursday, brought the total to 69.

Buffett, Pledge cofounder and chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said in a statement, “We are seeing great progress in less than a year. I am delighted that so many wealthy Americans are taking a public pledge that supports philanthropy. The continued energy and passion for this project, and the many philanthropy conversations it has sparked with families from all walks of life, are inspiring. We welcome our 10 new pledgers wholeheartedly.”

NYU philanthropy professor Jason Franklin, whose New York-based nonprofit Bolder Giving is credited as one of the inspirations for the Giving Pledge, called the Pledge “an important step in a cultural trend of greater giving that is gaining momentum at all income levels.” Franklin's nonprofit highlights the giving of ordinary people who have chosen to give in extraordinary ways.

Said Franklin, “Ordinary people are also making similar charitable commitments of 20, 50, or even 90% of their income or assets in what appears to be the dawn of a new era of giving.” He added, “A surprising number of Americans are teaching us that you don’t have to be a billionaire to give boldly and many are joining these leading families to transform our society.”

DeJoria, cofounder of John Paul Mitchell Systems, Patron Spirits Company, John Paul Pet and ROK, said in a statement, “At an early age, my mother shared with me the privilege of giving back and I experienced how good it feels to help someone in need. That stuck with me in my adult life. I believe that we all have the responsibility to make the world a better place to live … it's part of our rent for being here. My motto is ‘success unshared is failure,’ and that’s something I’ve passed on to my children too.”

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